The Guilty Party

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

All those Stillborn Manuscripts

I am sure that anyone here who fits into the Author column of life has had this conversation. The fact escapes that you are a writer. Almost inevitably the other party says, "Wow, so you've written a book?" "Guilty as charged." "You know, I've thought about doing that, you know, writing a book." "Uh-huh."

With the ease of e-publishing and companies like iUniverse and Authorhouse and YouBetchaWe'llPublishAnything* out there, the landscape, as well as the sky and that vast, seemingly unfillable space known as The Internet (or is it The Web? I can never get those two straight.) is brimming with literary masterpiece after literary masterpiece. Most of those masterpieces are, truth be told, really, really bad. But they keep getting cranked out and their authors keep bellowing for our attention. I can say this with immunity since I'm one of the bellowers.

But think for a moment--and just a moment, since doing it any longer will likely hurt and just may cause damage--about all of the books that never get written. My conservative estimate is that for every vampire chronicles tome tossed into the sunshine (poor thing), at least three or four hundred lie moldering in their creators' mental attics, never getting past the "Wow, what a great idea!" stage.

A part of me feels this is a shame. Chances are there are at least two or three really fine books that will never be written just because their intellectual property owners never place butt in chair and do the necessary paperwork.

But the rest of me is okay with this situation.

*I understand they have done very well with Ms. Palin's memoir.

Go Ye Forth and Do Likewise.


Lexi said...

I try not to let my guilty secret escape me.

It's so shameful, being an unpublished author. Saying defiantly, 'Actually, my book's really quite good,' fails to convince once you've admitted that the publishing industry has thus far managed without you.


Alan Hutcheson aka Plumboz said...

Well I feel I have no option but to admit to my folly whenever the opportunity presents itself. To do otherwise is to disown my book. That may be the prudent thing to do, but it just isn't possible.

The thing is, just about everybody seems to think that the only thing standing between them and an appearance on Oprah and The Today show touting their book is a week of free time that might, sometime in the distant future present itself as their Bookwriting Time. Kind of like me saying I could be an NBA point guard if I just spent some time at the gym working on my jumpshot.

Lexi said...

Is there a UK version available of that last sentence?

What is an NBA point guard and a jumpshot?

Alan Hutcheson aka Plumboz said...


Well now that was inconsiderate of me, wasn't it? NBA is the National Basketball Association, the only major professional basketball league in the United States. In basketball each team consists of five team members on court at any particular time. The center is usually the tallest fellow. The power forward (like Ted, in Boomerang) is usually the most, well, powerful. He's the real muscles of the team. The small forward could be just as tall, sometimes taller, than the power forward, but relies more on speed and finesse. The shooting guard does pretty much that, shoot the ball. Not with a firearm, mind you, but launching the thing towards the basket. The Point Guard is essentially the Field General. He/she (that would be the WNBA) directs the action on the floor, distributes the ball to the other players and pretty much sets the pace for his/her team.

As for the jump shot, it is precisely what it says. When at any sort of distance from the basket, the player jumps (sometimes straight up, sometimes actually falling back a bit), raises the ball to head height or higher, and shoots the ball towards the basket.

The quintessential NBA point guard at this time just happens to be Steve Nash, who just happens to play for my beloved Phoenix Suns. He is, interestingly, a Canadian whose first sports love was soccer (football). He was recently selected as the starting point guard for the West Team in the NBA All-Star game. If you want to know what a point guard does, check out this video from the NBA website.

Alan Hutcheson aka Plumboz said...

Aren't you glad you asked?

Lexi said...

No (she mutters sulkily).

We played nothing but ball games at my school; hockey, tennis, netball, rounders and bally cricket. I seldom managed to hit, catch, or throw a ball in the right direction.

It put me off all games involving a ball for life.

Though I did play football and catch with my daughter when small, so she wouldn't be as useless as her old ma. (I think this shows what a devoted parent I am.)

Anna said...

I shall bequeath all my IiPs (Ideas in Progress) to a friend. I do hope he/she will be able to decipher my writing cum shorthand on the back of old envelopes. I think these may be called 'conceptions in progress'.

A Bit About Me

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I am a writer with a longtime interest in photography. I'm a dad, husband, photographer, and not very good guitarist. My first novel, Boomerang, is available in both paperback and ebook form at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and As a matter of fact, my second novel, The Baer Boys, can be found at exactly the same places.